Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral. As we’ve mentioned in our blog, Is Asbestos Man-Made or Naturally Occurring? it has been mined since there have been mines. However, it’s only since the 20th century that asbestos has seen widespread use, both in it’s mining and use in manufacturing. This article looks back at the last 100+ years of history to look at how asbestos’s numerous health concerns were discovered and linked to the mineral and why we’ve been so slow to stop using it.
The 1900s: Asbestos Dust as a Potential Issue
As asbestos started to be mined in Europe, doctors were already starting to correlate respiratory issues and deaths with the mineral. While this was the infancy of modern medicine, both British doctors and French health inspectors (where the deaths of 50 workers prompted an investigation) were already making links between asbestos dust and health issues.
The 1930s: Investigating Health Concerns
In the next 20 years, we started to give a name and face to the health concerns of Asbestos. Dr. Cooke, a British pathologist, coined the terms asbestosis. Investigations into factories using asbestos resulted in better conditions and regulations. Lawsuits started to show up in the US, many of which were settled out of court in return for keeping quiet.
The 1950s: The Censorship of Asbestos Risks
While there had been internal reports about the risks of asbestos and asbestos dust in mining and manufacturing companies, they also started to actively censor information about asbestos and its links to cancer, such as removing references in medical publications and even intercepted and modified letters to state health and safety boards.
The 1980s: The Last Gasp of Wide Asbestos Use
Asbestos use was still alive and well into the 80s, but after a series of very loud and public lawsuits and health concerns, the cat was out of the bag by 1985. However, US regulations had fallen short of a complete ban, and due to manufacturer able to sell back stock, homes built in up to the 1990s could contain asbestos.
Modern Era: Catching Up with Asbestos
Today asbestos is no longer used in construction, but it poses a threat in many older buildings. When asbestos decays or is exposed due to renovation or demolition, it poses a health risk to the contractors and building’s occupants. The only answer is asbestos abatement. Need help finding or abating asbestos? Then it’s time to talk to Fiber Control, Inc. We’re specialists that are fully licensed in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and we’re here to help. Contact us today for a consultation on your property and problem.